Site specific installation:
Polyester rope, audio (15’) with accompanying printed brochure
Raging Bull is one of six projects realized since 2021 as part of the Restless Monuments Berlin series, curated by Bettina Klein. Serving as points of departure for the individual artistic interventions were existing (in some cases already destroyed) monuments and sculptures in the urban space of Berlin.
Ridnyi’s idea for intervening in the park comprises two elements: a heavy rope placed around the sculpture and knotted using a technique for securing cattle, as well as a QR accessible audio work. The audio collage of historical facts and fictional elements was produced in the form of a radio broadcast.
The bull sculpture was created by Paul Mersmann the Elder (1903–75) between 1934 and 1936 as part of an emergency program for unemployed artists. By 1937, however, Nazi authorities ordered the work to be destroyed, although the sculptor was promised a new commission.
Mersmann’s sculpture references a legend associated with the Blanke Helle (also Hels Pfuhl) natural monument, according to which the goddess Hel sent a bull out of the water twice a year to plow the surrounding land. A pagan priest regularly offered sacrifices to Hel, but his Christian successor was less attentive. One spring the bull reappeared, but instead of plowing the land he devoured the priest.
Ridnyi’s project and related research began in 2021, but its completion was postponed by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The raging bull, which can also be read as a symbol of a dictatorial aggressor, is unfortunately still as relevant today as it was in the 1930s.
Preview of the audio: https://on.soundcloud.com/pRTGN
The project is realized with the support of Neu Start Kultur, Stiftung Kunst Fonds and in collaboration with Berliner Foerderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung.
Site: Alboinplatz, Berlin-Schoenberg
Photo: Lidia Sigle, Mykola Ridnyi